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THE ANIMAL KINGDOM: A COLLECTION OF PORTRAITS

Photographer Randal Ford celebrates our fascination with and love of animals through his engaging portraits in THE ANIMAL KINGDOM: A COLLECTION OF PORTRAITS. Ford’s prolific and ever-growing body of animal portraits is quickly becoming well known within the commercial and fine art world. These arresting studio portraits capture the beauty, power, and even humor of 150 furry and feathered species — a delight for any animal or bird lover. 

Released October 2nd, 2018 by renowned publisher Rizzoli New York.  Available for pre order here on Amazon.

Proceeds for the sales of the book benefit Project Survival's Cat Haven.

FORWARD BY ACCLAIMED PHOTOGRAPHER, DAN WINTERS:

As a portrait photographer of thirty plus years, I make my living with my ability to identify nuance in facial expressions and body language as it applies to human beings. It is a necessary skill, as my portrayal of the sitter does not manifest itself out of the ether. It must be coaxed then captured through careful direction, observation, and decisive reactions. Shared language is used to communicate my intent and achieve the desired results. Upon viewing Mr. Ford’s photographs for the first time, I was briefly taken aback, as the primary tool of a portrait photographer—shared language— does not apply to his images, and yet, they appear to be borne of consensual dialogue and collaboration.

The beautiful organisms that have graced Mr. Ford’s lens give us a glimpse into a world in which creatures that are often marginalized stand proudly before us.

Wild animals are most often seen in their natural habitats; however, in these photographs they are isolated from the confines of their prosaic environment and elevated through composition and lighting into the sacred forms that they truly are. This use of the studio environment, which eliminates environmental context, acts in the same way that a portrait photographer uses a studio setting to isolate a human subject—this is one aspect of Mr. Ford’s photographs that I find so alluring.

Through a mastery of his craft, Mr. Ford has succeeded in removing the filter of our projection and preexisting notions and channeled genuine relatable emotion.

The physiognomy of each creature is elusive to us. Human cues don’t necessarily translate. We are, thus, handicapped by our inability to recognize and process a complicated set of visual expressions possessed by a life-form not of our species.

We have been choked to near-death by Disney-type portrayals of animalia that we lack the ability to see them through any set of filters than those that we have absorbed through our culture.

These exquisite photographs go well beyond anthropomorphism. We feel genuine emotion that provides us a cathartic connection.

Mr. Ford has also given us a sacred gift. He has acted as an avatar, and through his efforts, he has allowed us to experience these beasts of the field with an intimacy that is reserved for a select few.

He has conjured a world in which these creatures not only inhabit the same plane but also exist with us as equals. As a result, we respond not with fear but, instead, with wonderment.

–Dan Winters